To Diet or Not to Diet?

21 Nov

…all about striking a balance.


To diet or not to diet? That is the question a lot of us on our weight-loss journeys will ask over time.

To get into the shape I’m in now, I have been using the “Extreme Fat Smash Diet” by Dr. Ian Smith. It entails a pretty strict diet. The meals are small, the condiments are few and the salad, beans and veggies are aplenty. There are four small meals a day, each one with a guideline for what you should eat. For example:

Meal 1—one egg, one piece of fruit or 1/2 cup of juice

Meal 2—1 cup of sliced fresh fruit

Meal 3—small salad with 3 tablespoons of low-fat or fat-free dressing

Meal 4—1/2 cup of beans, 2 servings of vegetables

That’s on top of the 55 minutes of cardio you have to do, and that’s only Day 1 of the first week of a three week program. The system I used is not easy and it is not for everyone. But what I’ve loved about it—and why I keep coming back when I feel I need to lose a few extra pounds—is that it taught me how to eat differently.

For most of my adult life, food was a crutch. It made things easier. I used to keep at least two pints of of cookie dough and strawberry ice cream in my freezer, along with chocolate sauce in my fridge. I had a steady rotation of brownie mix and cake mix in my cupboards. And the large box of Xtra Cheddar Goldfish Crackers knew they would have a place in my home.

It’s not so much that I grew up with bad eating habits. We didn’t order out a lot in my home growing up. Both of my parents cooked and taught my brother and me how to boil water and make burgers. It was moreso that I didn’t know there was another way.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my childhood habit of steaming a frozen bag of veggies can still be useful; melting a slice of American cheese over it…not so much. Fried chicken was and forever will be some of the best chicken you’ll ever have. But sauteeing some chicken breasts in onions, peppers and garlic with light salt and pepper will still fill a chicken craving.

Dieting serves a purpose. There are people, like myself, who had no concept of small meals and truly thought holding the fries was enough when ordering at Five Guys. There are others whose systems can’t break down complex carbohydrates as quickly as others and have to cut them out altogether. And still there are others who just don’t know what a healthy diet consists of.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, a diet is not a bad thing. But there is always a need to strike a balance. Sometimes you just want a cookie. Sometimes you’d like to have a burger. Other times you just want that slice of cheesecake after your meal. This isn’t cheating, it’s allowing yourself the freedom to have something else. There’s no rule that you have to have a burger or cheesecake. It is the exception. The rule is that you should be fueling your body with the nutrients you need. The cookies and cakes aren’t necessary, they’re a treat.

To diet or not to diet? I say there’s nothing wrong with it. The diet I’m using isn’t sustainable. It is, however, the perfect tool I need to know how to eat clean. It worked for me because I opened myself to the possibility that what I’d been doing before wouldn’t work with what I wanted to get done.

How do you feel about dieting? Have you learned anything about past eating habits that you eventually changed on your weight-loss journey?

2 Responses to “To Diet or Not to Diet?”

  1. deborahcrocker November 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    I lost 65 pounds eating only three meals a day with half servings and a lot of prayer. I don’t diet just pray a lot. Ha ha!


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